Well look who is joining the growing by the minute Crossover bandwagon. Lotus! The luxury car maker is planning a radical sports crossover SUV to go up against the Porsche Macan. It’s due to arrive overseas in 2019, but no word on the U.S. yet. Lotus admits bringing it to the U.S. would take more modifications, which is more work. So it would likely depend on how many of them Lotus thinks it could sell here.
The confirmation about a new Lotus SUV comes via Autocar which describes it as a five-door SUV that bowing to Lotus tradition, will have a name that begins with “E”. CEO Jean-Marc Gales told Autocar it’s “a real Lotus” and “the world’s first lightweight SUV”. Lotus does have some previous SUV experience. The automaker developed a concept called the APX in 2006, but it didn’t go into production.
The new crossover will be built in a new Lotus factory in China to take advantage of the huge SUV demand in China. Crossover sales recently topped $3 million and Porsche sells around 30,000 Macan’s there a year with that number only expected to grow.
Autocar reports that the Lotus SUV is expected to be a low-riding model, similar in length and wheelbase to the Macan and Audi Q5 but about 3cm lower, to get the centre of gravity down. and a bit wider. All of this is important because a large backseat is a must for the Chinese luxury market, where the going thing now is using chauffeurs.
It will offer a 4X4 as at least as an option. But the big difference Gales says will be that it will be both lighter and faster than rivals. That goes along with what Gales said about the debut of the new Evora 400 at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year.
“We have always said that to make a car better, you must make it faster and lighter. We have achieved this, of course, but we didn’t stop there, as the considerable number of changes in the interior, chassis, engine and body design have warranted emphatically, the title of a new Lotus Evora 400,” Gales said.
Over two thirds of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged and charge-cooled mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 400 horsepower. A new aluminum chassis incorporates a new interior and the lightweight composite body has changed significantly both front and rear. The 2016 Evora will head to North American markets in the Fall.